Coronavirus live updates: National Guard to be deployed in NY, California, Washington

(NEW YORK) — The number of novel coronavirus cases around the world is over 328,000 worldwide with Italy and the United States behind China as the countries with the most cases of COVID-19 infections, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

The number of U.S. cases has surpassed 31,000, and as the number rises, some states are acting quickly by ordering variations of stay-at-home orders for residents. Oregon issued such an order on Friday night, joining states that include California, Illinois and New York.

The respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, has reached every continent except Antarctica, and every state in America since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Globally, there are at least 14,356 coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. More than 95,000 people have recovered worldwide.

Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times Eastern:

6:35 p.m.: Trump to deploy National Guard in NY, California, Washington

The National Guard will be deployed to assist in the fight against the coronavirus in the hard-hit states of New York, California and Washington, President Donald Trump announced.

The move, announced at Sunday evening’s briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will include delivery of medical supplies and the establishment of medical stations in those states.

“The federal government will be funding 100% of the cost to deploy National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command,” Trump said. “I spoke with all three of the governors today, just a little while ago, they’re very happy with what we’re doing.”

In addition, Trump said, “I directed FEMA to supply the following: Four large medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for California. and three large federal medical stations and four small federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for the state of Washington.”

Pete Gaynor of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said that medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, will be arriving in the affected states within 42 hours.

Also at the briefing, officials urged that testing be prioritized toward the neediest cases.

“We want people that have been checked into a hospital, that are being treated for what they expect to be coronavirus, to receive those tests more quickly.,” said Vice President Mike Pence.

Members of the task force said that 254,000 Americans have been tested for COVID-19, with 30,000 of those — 11.8% — testing positive.

According to commercial testing labs, the U.S. should be caught up on the backlog in testing by midweek, officials said.

5:45 p.m.: Five U.S. senators now under self-quarantine

Following the announcement Sunday afternoon by Sen. Rand Paul that he had contracted the coronavirus, there are now five U.S. senators under self-quarantine.

Sen. Mitt Romney said that he had quarantined himself after having contact with Sen. Paul.

“Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with CDC guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor,” a Romney spokesperson said in a statement. “He has no symptoms but will be tested. He urges members to pass a relief package as quickly as possible that provides assistance for families, workers, and small businesses.”

Sen. Mike Lee is also under quarantine after coming in contact with Sen. Paul.

Sens. Rick Scott and Cory Gardner were already under self-quarantine after coming into contact with diplomatic delegations whose members had tested positive.

4:15 p.m.: NYPD to crack down on mass gatherings in parks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced they will be cracking down on large gatherings that linger in city parks, to prevent COVID-19 exposure.

The order comes after reports of people interacting too closely in parks over the weekend, despite a shelter-in-place order by the mayor. Cops will be in cars, bikes and other vehicles with a speaker, alerting parkgoers not to linger, and if crowds get too big, the officers will break them up, according to de Blasio and Shea.

The mayor said they will run this policy for a week, and reassess their procedures.

“If we feel people aren’t following the rules … we will consider shutting [parks] down,” he warned.

As of Sunday morning, New York City had 9,654 confirmed coronavirus cases, de Blasio said.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the mayor to come up with a plan to reduce the density in parks and suggested that the city close certain streets to vehicular traffic and allow pedestrians.

De Blasio said he is mulling over closing the streets and will codify their plans in the next 24 hours, but warned that such a plan would require a gradual phase-in and strict police enforcement.

“If you put barriers at the end of a block and everyone comes out like it’s normal, we can’t have that,” the mayor said.

3:15 p.m.: Angela Merkel goes into quarantine as precaution

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into self-quarantine after she was exposed to the virus, according to her office.

The chancellor learned that a doctor who administered a precautionary pneumonia vaccine on Friday afternoon tested positive for COVID-19, her office said.

“In the next days she will be regularly tested in the coming days, as a test now would not yet be fully conclusive. From her quarantine at home, the Chancellor will continue to attend to her official business,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Shortly before she learned about the exposure, Merkel issued an order earlier in the day that barred social gatherings of more than two people with the exemptions of families and people living in the same household. The order will be in effect for two weeks.
2:26 p.m.: Olympic Committee considering different scenarios for Tokyo

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board said it will step up its planning for possible scenarios for the 2020 summer games in Tokyo.

The committee emphasized that it has no current plans to cancel the games, but said it will be discussing different options with its planning partners, including postponing the Olympics from its July 24 start date.

“The IOC is confident that it will have finalized these discussions within the next four weeks,” the committee said in a statement.
Several teams around the world, including the U.S. Track & Field and USA Swimming teams, have called on the IOC to postpone the games out of concern of the pandemic

1:52 p.m.: Germany restricts gatherings of more than two people

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a new order that bans social gatherings of more than two people.

Families and people living in the same household are exempt from the order, which will be in effect for at least two weeks.

“We are further reducing public life and social contact and ensuring that the measures will be nationwide,” the chancellor said at a news conference. “Everyone should organize their movements according to these regulations.”

Germany has 23,974 COVID-19 cases, the fourth highest outside of China, according to Johns Hopkins University.

1:36 p.m.: Sen. Rand Paul reveals he contracted coronavirus

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced on Twitter that he contracted COVID-19.

The senator said he is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his travel history, according to the tweet.
“He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person,” the tweet said.

Paul’s office said it has been operating remotely for the last 10 days and “virtually no staff has had contact” with the senator. He will be in quarantine, according to his staff.

Paul is the first U.S. senator to have contracted the virus. Two House of Representatives members, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Rep. Ben McAdam, D-Ut., tested positive for the disease last week.

1:19 p.m.: Italy’s death toll jumps to 5,476

Italy, which has the highest number of coronavirus fatalities outside of China, said there were 651 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the country’s Civil Protection Agency.

The total number of fatalities in the country is now 5,476, the agency said.

Italy has 53,578 confirmed cases, 5,560 of which are newly recorded.

12:50 p.m.: Emirates reverses decision to suspend flights

Emirates reversed a plan made earlier Sunday that would have suspended all of its flights this week.

The airline initially said Sunday morning that it would suspend all commercial flights on March 25, and only operate its cargo ships due to coronavirus concerns. Later in the day, Emirates tweeted it received several requests from world leaders who said they needed flights to repatriate its citizens, and the airline changed its course, allowing some flights to continue.

“We will operate passenger flights to UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, South Korea, USA & Canada,” Emirates tweeted.

The airline apologized to passengers for the inconvenience and said it will monitor the situation closely.

12:30 p.m.: Spain death count rises by 394, flight restrictions imposed

Spain’s Health Ministry announced that it recorded 394 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, bringing the country’s total death count to 1,720.

The country has now surpassed Iran for the third largest number of COVID-19 deaths.

As of Sunday, Spain had 28,572 confirmed cases of the virus, with 3,646 confirmations made in the last 24 hours.

The government said it would take immediate actions to stop the spread of the virus including restricting flights to diplomats, repatriation of travelers, healthcare workers and flights that layover in Spain’s airports.

12:05 p.m.: Merck donates masks to New York City

Pharmaceutical company Merck said it will donate half a million masks to New York City’s Office of Emergency Management.

The city has over 9,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday morning and elected officials said they are in desperate need of protective material for first responders and medical professionals.

12:00 p.m.: Cuomo calls on New York City to open streets to public

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other leaders to come up with a plan to reduce density in parks, after he saw large gatherings in the green spaces over the weekend.

Cuomo called the crowds at the parks “reckless,” “arrogant” and “selfish” because of the greater risk and said the city needed to take immediate action. He gave the mayor and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson 24 hours to come up with a plan and suggested they consider closing some streets to vehicular traffic and open it up to pedestrians.

“Get creative. Open up the streets” he said at a news conference.

Cuomo later said he had the power to make that move, however he didn’t know the full situation about the density of the parks and would defer the planning to local leaders.

De Blasio’s office did not have an immediate comment about the governor’s call to action. Johnson tweeted that he supported closing down streets.

“We must #StopTheSpread. The @NYCCouncil will do all we can to make this happen,” he tweeted.

Cuomo said there were 15,168 positive coronavirus cases in the state, with more than 9,000 within New York City. The governor announced said there are plans to open up spaces to treat patients, including the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, and the state would be undergoing trials for a malaria drug that could treat the disease.

9:03 a.m.: Pope to hold universal ‘Our Father’ prayer

Pope Francis announced he will be holding two major events of prayer this week to respond to the pandemic with “a universal prayer of compassion and tenderness.”

During his Sunday noontime prayer, Francis called on the heads of all Christian churches and Christians across the world to recite the “Our Father” prayer at the same time on Wednesday, the feast of the Annunciation, at noon.

The pope will also will preside over a moment of prayer on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica to the empty square Friday at noon. The services will include the Urbi et Orbi, to the City [of Rome] and to the World, blessing, which is normally recited during Easter and Christmas.

8:59 a.m.: NJ governor says states needs $100M to fight pandemic

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy stressed that his state and others in the northeast region needed more assistance from the federal government to fight the pandemic.

Murphy told co-anchor Martha Raddatz that New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania needed $100 billion direct cash assistance to fight against the pandemic. Specifically, he said the states needed more personal protective equipment, or PPE.

“We are in desperate for more PPE,” Murphy said. “We’ve had a big ask into the strategic stockpile on the White House — they’ve given us a fraction of our ask.”

8:39 a.m.: FEMA begins shipping masks from national stockpile

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor said on ABC’s This Week, that medical masks began shipping yesterday from the national stockpile.

Gaynor could not provide an exact number of masks or a timeline as to when they will reach individual states.

“All those supplies to all the demands, all the asks, all the governance, every day, we are — we’re prepared to go to zero in the stockpile to meet demand,” Gaynor said.

7:49 a.m.: Miami shuts down marinas following Saturday night boat parties

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez ordered that all boat ramps and marinas in the city would be closed for recreational use after images and videos of boat parties in the area circulated online Saturday night.

Gimenez chastised organizers and partygoers for violating the city’s orders that limit crowds to 10 or fewer.

“We are in a state of emergency, and I cannot stress enough the need for personal responsibility,” he said in a statement.

Only fishing boats will be able to use the docks and sail into the waters under the new order, which will be enforced by police boats, Gimenez said.

6:57 a.m.: Russia’s military is sending medical aid to Italy

Russia’s military is sending medical aid to Italy to help in its fight against the coronavirus epidemic, including disinfection vehicles and military virologists.

Russia’s defense ministry in a statement announced military transport planes will be delivering eight mobile brigades of military medics, special disinfection vehicles and other medical equipment to Italy, starting from Sunday.

It followed a phone conversation between President Vladimir Putin and Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, during which Putin offered help.

The move obviously highlights the EU’s relative failure so far to aid Italy in the epidemic and follows China sending a plane-load of medics to help. The authoritarian governments see this as a diplomatic and PR opportunity. Italy was already one of the friendliest countries to Russia in the EU and this obviously won’t go unremembered.

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

5:29 a.m.: Saudi Arabia suspends domestic flights, buses and taxis for at least two weeks

Saudi Arabia announced 48 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 392, with five of the new infections being healthcare workers in Riyadh, according to a health ministry spokesman.

All domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains in the Kingdom have been suspended for at least 14 days to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, an Interior Ministry official told the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

5:17 a.m. Turkey imposes partial curfew and bans picnics and barbecues as cases have doubled each day in the past week

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan early on Sunday did his best to reassure his people about the nation’s efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic, saying Turkey is doing its duty to protect citizens. “I hope we will get over these difficult times together. Just follow the rules and guidance and also continue staying at homes,” Erdogan posted on Twitter while reiterating that those older than 65 and anyone with a chronic disease should not go outside.

Turkey imposed a partial curfew on Saturday for senior citizens and those with chronic diseases, but stopped short of a blanket curfew. Earlier on Saturday, Turkey suspended flights from 46 additional countries and banned picnics and barbecues, as the number of cases has roughly doubled every day for the past week.

Turkey now has 947 confirmed cases of the virus, with 21 deaths.

2:49 a.m.: Amazon hiring for 100,000 new roles while raising wages for hourly workers

Posting on his Instagram account Saturday night, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to all Amazon employees announcing that Amazon will be hiring for 100,000 new roles and raising wages for hourly workers while also detailing how the company plans on working through the crisis.

2:24 a.m.: Audible offering free streaming of children’s stories

On Saturday night, Audible started offering free streaming of children’s stories in 6 different languages to help parents as long schools are closed.

10:47 p.m.: DJ D-Nice brings party to Instagram

This is the largest crowd the Bronx-born DJ has attracted since launching the “parties” on Wednesday.

Some of the users tuning in Saturday: Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and countless other celebs, singers and athletes.

9:30 p.m.: NY ATC Center, LGA tower will be closed overnight for sanitization

The New York Air Route Traffic Control Center and New York’s LaGuardia Control Tower will now be closed overnight for sanitization, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

During this time other air traffic facilities will provide needed key services and some flights will be rerouted around the airspace, but the FAA expects a minimal impact on traffic since the volume during these hours is low.

Flights were briefly suspended at New York City and Philadelphia airports Saturday afternoon when an air traffic controller trainee at New York Air Route Traffic Control Center in Ronkonkoma, New York, tested positive for coronavirus.

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